Recklessly hurtling Guyana towards constitutional crisis

first_imgDear Editor,Since the successful no-confidence motion on December 21, 2018, Guyana was given 90 days within which the Government was obligated to resign, dissolve Parliament and schedule General and Regional Elections. The Constitution is unambiguous and clearly outlines the requirements in Article 106 (6) and 106 (7). While constitutions can sometimes be confusing, this Article is not confusing and does not need lawyers and judges for interpretation. Ordinary citizens who can read know the meaning. Even citizens who cannot read know the meaning once it is read to them. Yet David Granger and APNU/AFC have chosen to deliberately ignore the Constitution and the law, ignore Parliament and the majority of MPs, ignore the High Court and the Chief Justice, ignore the pleas of citizens and civil society, ignore investors and businesses, and deliberately, knowingly, unconscionably hurl Guyana towards a constitutional crisis.This is how dictators behave. This is how power-hungry people behave. This is how bullies behave. This is how people who do not care for the welfare of their country and their sisters and brothers behave. President Granger and APNU/AFC are proving to all that they are comfortable as dictators, totally in their comfort zone as power-hungry people, bullies who simply do not care for their country or their people. All that matters is to hold on to power at all cost. Granger is the leader of the pack. But complicit in this recklessness and travesty is Moses Nagamootoo who exults in his title as Prime Minister. Equally complicit are the Ministers who claim they are champions for the people, who claim they are patriots, who claim they stand with the working class.By March 21, when the 90 days expire, Guyana has no Government. Everything that Granger and APNU/AFC do will be illegal. The Chief Justice confirmed that the Cabinet was resigned by the no-confidence motion on December 21 but there is no provision in the Constitution to recognise a President or a “caretaker” Government, after the 90 days. We will be in “la la” land, with an illegal Government. All money spent by the “Government” will be illegal expenditures. All contracts will be illegal, all agreements will be illegal, all appointments will be illegal. As of February 2, forty-three of the 90 days have elapsed. There are 47 more days, which will expire on March 21.The only way to prevent an expiration is for Parliament to meet and pass a resolution agreeing to an extension, but that will require a mature, responsible approach where the Granger-led APNU/AFC and the Bharat Jagdeo-led PPP/C meet immediately to make such an agreement and pass that resolution with a two-thirds majority. Bharat Jagdeo and the PPP have expressed a willingness to meet to finalise arrangements for elections. Granger and the APNU/AFC seem to think they can simply carry on. The difference is that Bharat Jagdeo and the PPP are deeply rooted in freedom and democracy and act within those constraints. Granger and the APNU/AFC come from deep within the belly of dictatorship, authoritarianism and bullyism.With direct leadership from Granger, the APNU/AFC has tried and continue to try all means to delay and prevent the inevitable. They wanted their own Speaker to reverse a valid decision. He refused, and they expended 13 valuable days. They went to court and another 28 days have elapsed. The court refused. They now will go to the Appeals Court and then to the Caribbean Courts of Justice (CCJ). By the time the Guyana Courts of Appeal is likely to address the matter, the 90 days will be about to expire. Granger and APNU/AFC are carrying on as if it is business as usual, behaving as if their approach to the court can suspend the countdown. But the Chief Justice has unequivocally told them the Constitution began the countdown since December 21.The President unequivocally stated just a few days ago, addressing the national media and, therefore, addressing the nation, that if the judiciary says yes, it is yes, if the judiciary says no, it is no. Well, the judiciary has said yes, Parliament validly passed the no-confidence motion on December 21. The Judiciary has said yes, MP Charrandas validly cast a vote on December 21. The Judiciary said yes, 33 is the majority of 65. The Judiciary said yes, the Cabinet was resigned on December 21. The Judiciary said yes, elections must be held within 90 days. Will David Granger now be an honourable man and stand on his word and the law? Will he live up to the DNA of his party and act as a dictator, act like a bully, as the head of a power-hungry group? Will he ignore the cries of his country, the wailing of his people? Will he allow Guyana at this pivotal moment to regress into dictatorship?Sincerely,Dr Leslie Ramsammylast_img read more